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  1. #46
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. – Ezekiel 37:7-10
    If nothing else, inspiration (for a story).

  2. #47
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    Nietzsche's more of a revelation than God. At least in my opinion. Just what anyone really gets out of the bible i'm not sure. I see people reading it daily like a mantra. Does it numb the brain? Or is there something so profound in it that one benefits from reading it over and over and over again? Unlikely.
    How often do you read Nietzsche?

    What do you make of Hawking saying that philosophy has been outmoded by science? That philosophy is essentially a relic of a past age?

    It's one thing for science to trump religion, but it's something else entirely for science to trump philosophy. What say you?
    Last edited by Fung Koo; November 12th, 2010 at 04:53 AM.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    Nietzsche's more of a revelation than God. At least in my opinion. Just what anyone really gets out of the bible i'm not sure. I see people reading it daily like a mantra. Does it numb the brain? Or is there something so profound in it that one benefits from reading it over and over and over again? Unlikely.

    It gives people comfort.
    Think of it as the placebo effect writ large.

    But is it all that different from folks who escape their circumstances by reading nothing but fantasy novels?

  4. #49
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Funny Sparrow, that's been my premise all along. Scripture is Fantasy, and probably functioned historically as fantasy does fro someo people today. People don't take fantasy stories literally. We may hope and feel exhilirated by the promise or dream of such extraordinary beings and powers and events, but we know they are fabrications. They don't comfort us today for that reason, yet scripture still does? Explain that? No explanation. We'd like it to be true, perhaps.

    Fung, philosophy, other than the history of philosophy which is still fascinating, since it parallels the history of so much else, may be a dying discipline. At least it's being transformed by science. But there's still a place for ethics, and we need metaphysics when science can't satisfy us. And we need ontology as a result of our inability to certify our claims fully through science. But speculative thought hopefully will never die. Even the structure of our language requires it. And half of our vocabulary requires speculation in order to understand the meanings (which we often don't really understand at all, but merely assume we do).

    I just used the word 'hopefully'. Speculative? Philosophical? you bet. When will science eliminate the our impulse to speak speculatively? and think speculatively? I doubt ever.

  5. #50
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    It gives people comfort.
    Think of it as the placebo effect writ large.

    But is it all that different from folks who escape their circumstances by reading nothing but fantasy novels?
    The difference is that we know fantasy is fiction, we don't pretend it is REAL, nor do we go around spreading it, killing in its name, or basing our life on it.

    Also, there are those of us that are more interested in the truth, whether it's comforting or not.

  6. #51
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    ...our impulse to speak speculatively? and think speculatively?
    We posit, then, an impulse which we all share to speak and think speculatively.
    If we take this as a given, then does it not follow?
    (a) speculation can lead to truth and/or untruth
    (b) the truth of a speculation can be established only by repeatable tests
    (c) the tests of speculative truth are themselves speculative
    (d) any truths derived must be speculative

    In plane geometry, a triangle is limited to and composed of angles summing to 180 degrees. This truth does not hold sway in contexts other than a plane. The truth about triangles depends on context.

    When you reach the point where every statement of truth must be qualified by a delimiter such as “per the state of our knowledge today...” then are you not permanently in the speculative mode? We look at our physics, chemistry, biology, all the “hard” sciences, and cannot imagine a world that does not support these truths. There is no doubt in my mind – my truth – that much of what we accept today as scientific truth will be revolutionized by new discoveries or new applications of existing knowledge that turn everything we believe to be truth on its ear. It's happened many times before and there is no reason that I can see to believe we occupy a privileged position where it can't happen again.

    Newton presented a formula for gravity that is truth for a closed system such as the surface of a planet such as ours. Einstein demonstrated that this truth is not absolute for an open system thereby casting doubt on the concept of a closed system.

    When you and I studied physics in our youth and we got to talking gravity, the orbits of the nine planets were pretty well defined. But, in this century, we know there are not nine planets, only eight. Definitions changed and less than complimentary assertions arose as to the beauty of the math that produced the discovery of Pluto and its orbit, the math that was the crowning achievement in our text books.

    Now, if scientific applications work, e.g., my toaster produced a nicely warmed bagel this morning and we know absolutely nothing about what electricity is or why it works the way it does; then does it matter we are still speculating about electricity?

    For those of us who tend to wallow in our scientific world, doesn't it bother us just a bit that this portion of the universe is anthropomorphic to a fault, that a difference of a decimal here and there in the constants of nature would prohibit our existence, that there is nothing particularly sacred about our constants – it's possible they don't hold true elsewhere in this universe.

    It seems to me it is a case of pick your poison: which belief system helps you make it through the day?
    I have no problem with you or anyone else believing whatever you or they want to believe. Just don't present it as the truth and nothing but the truth. Don't try to make me believe it just because you do. And let's don't go to war to prove that we're right.

  7. #52
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    There are no facts, only interpretations.

    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

    Every word is a prejudice

    Truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are.

    We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live - by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody could now endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions of life might include error.

    Thus he spoke.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    For those of us who tend to wallow in our scientific world, doesn't it bother us just a bit that this portion of the universe is anthropomorphic to a fault, that a difference of a decimal here and there in the constants of nature would prohibit our existence, that there is nothing particularly sacred about our constants – it's possible they don't hold true elsewhere in this universe.
    Not it doesn't bother me at all. The difference of a decimal is the knifes edge of existence. We are of no consequence. We are however remarkably lucky. We are a royal flush. Every breath we take amounts to hitting the lottery. How many wrap themselves in things of no consequence in search of substance? If dogmatic constructs bring one peace so be it. The problem is when dogmatic constructs become social framework.

    I am of no consequence. My life has no purpose or meaning. There is no afterlife that I will go to after I die. So I endeavor to live as best I can. Acknowledging my strengths and my weaknesses. Aware of the fact that my tomorrow is by no means guaranteed.

    I see no divine purpose. No intelligent design. I see dice tumbling. Random numbers. And I dream of better days.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    Now, if scientific applications work, e.g., my toaster produced a nicely warmed bagel this morning and we know absolutely nothing about what electricity is or why it works the way it does; then does it matter we are still speculating about electricity?
    We can speculate about the wonderous mystery that is electricity because we have a profound interest in it... and it's real. The problem with science fiction is that too often the toaster is traveling faster than the speed of light, which is profoundly unreal.

    For those of us who tend to wallow in our scientific world, doesn't it bother us just a bit that this portion of the universe is anthropomorphic to a fault, that a difference of a decimal here and there in the constants of nature would prohibit our existence, that there is nothing particularly sacred about our constants – it's possible they don't hold true elsewhere in this universe.
    But if it's not real science, or not supported by the tried and true laws of nature, than isn't it fantasy?

    It seems to me it is a case of pick your poison: which belief system helps you make it through the day?
    I have no problem with you or anyone else believing whatever you or they want to believe. Just don't present it as the truth and nothing but the truth. Don't try to make me believe it just because you do. And let's don't go to war to prove that we're right.

    The truth is a harsh mistress.

  10. #55
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Agent View Post
    The difference is that we know fantasy is fiction, we don't pretend it is REAL, nor do we go around spreading it, killing in its name, or basing our life on it.

    Also, there are those of us that are more interested in the truth, whether it's comforting or not.
    You've obviously never been to a Star Trek or LotR convention. Not to mention those who are praticing Jedis.

  11. #56
    Post Removed
    Last edited by 3rdI; December 18th, 2010 at 03:52 PM.

  12. #57
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdI View Post
    The subject matter presented herein is however very much on topic as this thread is a discussion on Why God Did Not Create the Universe.
    Respectfully, I disagree that this addresses the topic at hand. The video you posted is merely a rant calling a group of people stupid, which would be against the rules of this forum were you to type those things yourself into a post. Nor does it add anything to the debate.

    Religion is one matter, faith another, and the question at the core of this topic is another still. The discussion at hand is "the prime cause" of existence. In his most recent book, Hawking says that science has outmoded philosophy. Yet Hawking famously concluded his A Brief History of Time saying:

    However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason -- for then we should know the mind of God.
    Hawking's religious beliefs have been identified as atheist since the point when he made this comment. The question of what he means by "God" here has been a point of argument for a long time. In a nutshell, Hawking retained God as the placeholder of existence -- which is to say, the unanswerable question of "where does existence itself come from?"

    It is less a religious question than it is either philosophical or scientific. In a nutshell -- stripping everything related to belief away (i.e. religion and faith), why is there existence at all? Not "why is your faith subverting the freedom of your mind?" where the rant in the video you posted would lead, but to the fundamental question of existence itself. Stripping away the cladding of the infinitude of faiths that have existed in human history, every religion can be understood as a model of understanding existence. Science, too. Yet for science's efforts, it hasn't been able to answer the question of primary cause. Until now, says Hawking.

    Hawking has published a new book wherein he postulates that his previous position of God and the placeholder of existence, the primary cause, is no longer necessary. It is now, he is arguing, an answered question. Science has stated, through M-Theory, that a primary cause -- God -- is not necessary to explain existence.

    As others have pointed out earlier in this thread though, science has not in fact answered the question -- it has only removed it from being an issue for our existence. Our existence is, the argument of M-Theory goes, one amongst many. All of which are arising from something else. From whence that "something else" arose, neither I nor Hawking have any idea...

    So, God did not create our universe, says science. But it is still quiet on the issue of where the strings themselves came from. In his article, Hawking says that science has outmoded philosophy. The discussion at hand is: has it really?

    So, sorry, but that video ain't the topic.

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Respectfully, I disagree that this addresses the topic at hand. The video you posted is merely a rant calling a group of people stupid, which would be against the rules of this forum were you to type those things yourself into a post. Nor does it add anything to the debate.

    Religion is one matter, faith another, and the question at the core of this topic is another still. The discussion at hand is "the prime cause" of existence. In his most recent book, Hawking says that science has outmoded philosophy. Yet Hawking famously concluded his A Brief History of Time saying:



    Hawking's religious beliefs have been identified as atheist since the point when he made this comment. The question of what he means by "God" here has been a point of argument for a long time. In a nutshell, Hawking retained God as the placeholder of existence -- which is to say, the unanswerable question of "where does existence itself come from?"

    It is less a religious question than it is either philosophical or scientific. In a nutshell -- stripping everything related to belief away (i.e. religion and faith), why is there existence at all? Not "why is your faith subverting the freedom of your mind?" where the rant in the video you posted would lead, but to the fundamental question of existence itself. Stripping away the cladding of the infinitude of faiths that have existed in human history, every religion can be understood as a model of understanding existence. Science, too. Yet for science's efforts, it hasn't been able to answer the question of primary cause. Until now, says Hawking.

    Hawking has published a new book wherein he postulates that his previous position of God and the placeholder of existence, the primary cause, is no longer necessary. It is now, he is arguing, an answered question. Science has stated, through M-Theory, that a primary cause -- God -- is not necessary to explain existence.

    As others have pointed out earlier in this thread though, science has not in fact answered the question -- it has only removed it from being an issue for our existence. Our existence is, the argument of M-Theory goes, one amongst many. All of which are arising from something else. From whence that "something else" arose, neither I nor Hawking have any idea...

    So, God did not create our universe, says science. But it is still quiet on the issue of where the strings themselves came from. In his article, Hawking says that science has outmoded philosophy. The discussion at hand is: has it really?

    So, sorry, but that video ain't the topic.
    Normally I wouldn't care what you thought about the video. Disclaimer was there you click its on you. But since you started the thread it is basically yours. Therefore if you deem it off topic I respect that. I have removed the link.
    Last edited by 3rdI; December 18th, 2010 at 04:11 PM.

  14. #59
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdI View Post
    Normally I wouldn't care what you thought about the video. Disclaimer was there you click its on you. But since you started the thread it is basically yours. Therefore if you deem it off topic I respect that. I have removed the link.
    Likewise, it doesn't matter to me what people think of the video -- but it doesn't answer the question. Clearly from the atheist position it is anathema that God would have anything to do with anything. That sorta goes without saying.

    If there was a particular point that you thought was salient, though, I'm all for a little fiery, antagonistic debate

  15. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Likewise, it doesn't matter to me what people think of the video -- but it doesn't answer the question. Clearly from the atheist position it is anathema that God would have anything to do with anything. That sorta goes without saying.

    If there was a particular point that you thought was salient, though, I'm all for a little fiery, antagonistic debate
    In this case I made the mistake of not reading the thread in its entirety. I saw mention of Dawkins and read some of the posts and thought bringing Pat Condell into the discussion would spice it up. But after re-reading the thread I understand this thread isn't really an atheist rally point at all rather a fundamentally philosophical discussion on the exact nature of the "cause" of existence. Therefore indeed the Condell link was off topic and removed out of respect to the OP, which in this case, is you.

    As an aside I have enjoyed the thread, particularly the discussions on MTheory as I am a cosmology buff.

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